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How often do you get flats?(18 posts)

How often do you get flats?giles
Sep 6, 2001 8:43 AM
Hello all,

About 2 months ago I switched from riding a mountain bike to a road bike. The narrow tires sure roll better, but I can't seem to go more than 2 or 3, 15-20 mile rides without getting a flat. Usually I have to repair a tire prior to a ride. This certainly takes some of the fun out of riding.

Is this situation normal, or am I experiencing some bad luck? Is there anything I can do to get fewer flats such as higher or lower tire pressure, different tires or tubes or anything else? I would rather not think about the tires just put air in them.

Thanks for your help.

one last year, none this year....(nm)c-40
Sep 6, 2001 8:47 AM
re: How often do you get flats?Bike Fool
Sep 6, 2001 8:59 AM
I went like 1000 miles without a flat, then got 4 in the next 200. Karma, man. Definitely keep your tires inflated to spec on the sidewall. Also, make sure you're using good rim tape (check for wear). After each flat, if it's caused by road debris, pull the tire off and really spock out the tire. I once had a flat caused by a piece of glass, and immediately got another one. The cause was a little sliver of glass was still embedded in the tread, even though I thought I had removed it completely.
Not often, but...mr_spin
Sep 6, 2001 8:59 AM
Got three in one day last weekend. A friend got two more on the same ride. It's thorn season out here.

You are getting too many. There may be something wrong with your wheel. Check your rim tape and for other rim anomalies. Make sure you inflate your tires at or close to the maximum value printed on the tire. Stop riding through glass?
re: How often do you get flats?vanzutas
Sep 6, 2001 9:05 AM
That is too many. The beginning of the season I got a few. I was riding on cheap tires. Whenever I buy closeout tires they are no good. Spend a little more on tires. inflate them a lot. Make sure you inflate the tube a little before putting it in so the tire doesn't pinch it when you put it on. Lastly ride as far to the left as possible. There is more junk like glass and debris the farther you go to the right of the road.
re: How often do you get flats?Chas
Sep 6, 2001 9:29 AM
When I was using Conti Ultra 3000's I had 4 flats in 1000 miles.
I switched to Specialized Armadillo's and have not had one flat in over 1200 miles.
I do agree with everyone else, check your wheels and tires before you do anything else.
re: How often do you get flats?atomicwedgie
Sep 6, 2001 9:50 AM
I've had problems recently also, because I have been putting the maximum tire pressure labeled on the sidewall. So I have backed it off about 15 psi which is still 100 psi. I think that's plenty for recreational or training rides. If racing I would put in the maximum psi.
your experience certainly sounds excessivebianchi boy
Sep 6, 2001 9:51 AM
I have had one flat in the past 6,000 miles, and that was about 5 months ago. There seems to be a wide variation in flat frequency based on previous threads on this topic. Excessive flats may be just due to bad luck, but I think it has more to do with the condition of the roads where you ride. Some things that might help avoid them in the future include:
1. Stay away from the debris that accumulates near the edge of the road and at intersections.
2. Buy good tires, but not necessary the "best" tires (eg, racing -- which aren't designed for durability).
3. Use regular tubes rather than ultralight versions.
4. Make sure you have rim strips on your wheels.
5. When you change a flat, carefully rub the inside of your tire to make sure glass or someother sharp object isn't still imbedded in the tread.
6. Make sure your tires are properly inflated before every ride, or at least every other ride. Running tires with too low pressure increases risk of pinch flats.
7. Check to make sure your tires aren't worn out. Thin treads mean more flats.
once this year, 5 last yearalex the engineer
Sep 6, 2001 10:04 AM
My one and only flat this year was on a Conti Sprinter tubular, and was caused by a small glass sliver. My other road tubular wheelset uses Tufos, and hasn't had a single flat in about 2000 miles. My daily commuter (Cannondale touring) has Armadillos on it, and has gone about 2500 with no flats, either. I have 2 other bikes, both riding on Conti TT2k's with no flats this year, also.
Not that I'm superstitious but....Len J
Sep 6, 2001 10:32 AM
I won't answer this for fear of the Gods!

Sep 6, 2001 10:33 AM
I've had 7 flats in 6 years, that's about 1/1500+ miles. At least half of those have been from defective tubes. I run Michelin Axial Pro's, Conti Grand Prix 3000's, and Vredestein Fortezza's. I run the Axial Pro's and Grand Prix's at 120psi, and re-inflate before every ride. The Fortezza's get 135psi. I analyze each flat until I know what caused it. If your wheels are new the most likely cause of flats is bad rim strips, just get rid of them and replace with Velox. Also, late summer and fall is the goat head season, gotta keep your tires out of the grass.

re: How often do you get flats?Jofa
Sep 6, 2001 10:47 AM
There's no reason why one tyre brand or model should puncture more than any other: they are all about the same thickness, all made much the same way and all very susceptible to penetration by sharp things.The conflicting reports that surface here only support this. As somebody said, put it down to karma, and delight in the supposed patterns which true randomness sometimes throws us (!).

Road tyres puncture more than ATB ones because the distance from road surface to inner tube is much less. Check to make sure that the flats aren't being caused by something in the wheel- this is easy enough to see from the orientation of the hole in the tube. Presuming the cause is external, check your tyres for embedded glass first, then ride carefully: this might sound obvious but it's surprising what you can avoid. If you continue to flat regularly then get some heavy liner strips to put between tyre and tube, or thicker tubes.

re: How often do you get flats?atomicwedgie
Sep 6, 2001 11:50 AM
I think some tires are a little bit more flat resistant due to thread count and rubber makeup and quality, but for the most part I agree. What I have experienced is more flats while riding with higher psi. I would assume it is because the tire gives a little more when hitting sharp pebbles, glass or even steel. That is consistant with my experience anyway. The rest of you may have better data or insight as to why I have better luck with lower psi.
NEVER use that word!Humma Hah
Sep 6, 2001 10:53 AM
I just came off a stretch of very good luck (aided by 1 3/4" balloon tires and thorn-resistant tubes) of 1 f*** in 27 years and 13,000 miles.

Then I bragged about it and all heck broke loose. I've had about 4 in a month.

But you're getting way too many. Check the tubes. As a MTBer, pretty good chance you're getting pinch flats on those skinny tires. Add more pressure if you're running below recommended pressure. If not overly concerned about weight, a little Slime may help reduce pinches. Mostly, quit hitting stuff.

If you're getting glass or other debris punctures, watch where you're going. You can't get away with hitting much pointy stuff on a roadbike.
re: How often do you get flats?JVR-OCLV
Sep 6, 2001 11:04 AM
This year so far 5 flats. Did not happen intil I hit the 4000 mi. mark and rode in 100+ degree heat. Got two in one day. Maybe the hot pavement had something too do with it?
Hope thats it for the year!!
re: How often do you get flats?jjay
Sep 6, 2001 11:05 AM
I just recently got back into road riding. I bought a road bike the first of August and have put over 1100 miles on the thing without one flat. I get more flats on my mtn bike. The road bike I bought has used axial pros on it. Think I'll stick with this tire.
Over time, it's all in the conditionszelig
Sep 6, 2001 1:30 PM
I used to get a flat every 2,500-3000 miles or so, riding tubs (top of the line and bottom) in the US, city (Boston and New York) and country (Connecticut and SE Massachusetts) environment. This is over a period of 25 years. More recently I moved to London where there's little recycling and lots of containers, including non-alcoholic drinks, in glass. I averaged 700 miles between flats on tubs and finally switch to clinchers to take advantage of Kevlar belted tires. As a result, I've managed to increase the miles between flats to about 1,300. And all of these flats are from broken glass. I weigh 59kg and run 100psi front and 105 psi rear, tubs or clincher and have never had a pinch flat with either so for me, it isn't the weight or the psi. It's your local conditions, again, over the long run.
Several a week, and you know what else?cory
Sep 6, 2001 2:54 PM
I probably average one every 40 miles or so. That's more than anybody I know, and I posted this same question a week or so ago just to prove to myself that God hates me. I suspect it may be weight-related--I weigh 220, and I think I jam the tires down harder than 140-pound friends riding the same tires right next to me.
You know what else, though? I appreciate everybody's suggestions, but if I had no rim tape or a spoke poking a hole in the same place on the inside of the tube four times a week, I'D KNOW WHAT IT WAS AND FIX IT! Every damn puncture I get is right through the tread of the tire, through the kevlar belt, through the Mr. Tuffy (on one bike) and through the tube. Not gonna fix that with Velox.